Russian Roulette with Red Lines

The War in Ukraine has more than one Culprit

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

The invasion of Ukraine is not going the way Russia envisioned – but the thought of abandoning his plans is unbearable for Vladimir Putin. At stake is Ukraine, his security buffer to the West. The enormous American and European aid flowing there has made the military situation very precarious for the Russians, prompting their president now to order a partial mobilization of Russian forces. There is even talk of using tactical nuclear weapons. An escalation of the conflict to this extent would be a catastrophe for all of Europe.

Workers’ uprising in the GDR in 1953: Soviet tanks roll through East Berlin and other places of the Soviet satellite state. The USA and the two other victorious powers in Berlin, France and Great Britain, looked on powerlessly a few hundred yards away.

Why did it have to come to this? Can the responsibility for this dire situation really be attributed solely to Russia? After all, it was they who started this war. A war, however, that has a long pre-history between Russians and Ukrainians, but also Europe.

At a time when everyone is talking about globalization, it is worth taking a look at recent history. During the Cold War, there were many situations that could have easily led to nuclear catastrophe. The two great powers, the USA and the communist Soviet Union, friends and allies against Hitler in the second half of the Second World War, fought proxy wars against each other virtually all over the world or even intervened directly, as the Americans did in Vietnam.

That was far away. But in the field of tension Europe, the Americans have never dared to act against the Soviets as they are now doing in Ukraine, right on Russia’s doorstep. When the Soviets tried to starve out West Berlin in 1948/49 by blocking the access routes in order to force the three Western powers to abandon the city, the Americans and the British flew non-stop missions via an air lift to Tempelhof to supply the population with all the necessities of life. Military action was out of the question for all sides, although the Soviets threatened it several times.

Four years later, when the workers’ uprising in the GDR took place and Soviet tanks rolled through East Berlin to crush it, the Americans watched in protest from a few hundred meters away but did not dare to intervene militarily. On August 13, 1961, when the East German communists sealed off West Berlin with barbed wire and construction of the Wall began, President John F. Kennedy was in Hyannis Port for a sail and did not want to be disturbed1. The West had known in advance what was going on with the approval of the Soviets – and did not intervene, even though there was a Berlin crisis team in the Washington State Department, set up long before.

Nor did the Americans lift a finger during the 1956 uprising in Hungary, which was put down particularly bloodily by invading Soviet troops; nor during the Prague Spring in 1968, nor in Poland in 1970 and 1981, when, by the way, Republican presidents were sitting in the White House.

These invaded states were all involuntary satellites of the Soviets and wanted to go their own independent ways, just like the Ukraine today. They were not involved in “real wars” with the Soviet Union, but at least the Soviets intervened militarily, and no one helped these countries at the time.

In a certain way, the West had accepted the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union, although there, too, the suffering of the population including politically motivated killings, imprisonments and deportations of hundreds of thousands of people were the order of the day. However, even because of all this, economic relations were never seriously questioned between the two power blocks, on the contrary. And in all these moments of world political dangers and wars, when everything was at stake, Russian natural gas and oil continued to flow not only to the Federal Republic of Germany and the former GDR, but to almost all of Western Europe during the Cold War and afterwards. Even the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 did not play a destructive role in this pattern of ongoing cooperation, apart from a boycott of the Olympic Games.

So, the question is: Why did the West interfere so massively in Ukraine’s affairs right after the Soviet Union fell apart in late 1991, when individual republics like Ukraine broke away from it and the Russian Federation under President Boris Yeltsin tried to see the West as a partner? What were the Bidens, Trumps and Giulianis and their stooges doing in Ukraine, where almost the entire upper stratum of society including governments were corrupt to the core? None of this looked like well-meaning intentions on the part of the West – more like a dangerous, creeping imperial expansion of its own sphere of power, as the Americans saw themselves as the general triumphant force after the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Nevertheless, there is no justification for the war in Ukraine. However, if all accepted red lines from the Cold War era had not been crossed today, this war might not have happened.

Notes:

1 A note on my own behalf: In view of the historical facts and as someone who was born in 1961 at the eastern interface of the Cold War, the question does not even arise to me to whom I owe my personal freedom. The courageous mass demonstrations in the GDR, which led to the opening of the Berlin Wall in 1989, could have been put down by the Soviets just as they had been in 1953. Here, too, the Americans could only have watched, or rather had to watch, in order not to endanger world peace. I owe my freedom to Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet party and state leader and his policy of glasnost and perestroika (openness and restructuring). – I emphasize this explicitly because I have heard many voices in America according to which the USA and Ronald Reagan brought down the Berlin Wall, although the latter was not even in office anymore at the time. It would be more correct to say that the Americans kept the path to this development open – but they could not bring it about themselves.

A Shot in Their own Leg

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

In the main German news yesterday (September 16), a commentary said that Russia is waging an economic war against Europe. This is now the usual choice of words in most of the media in my home country – not much better than elsewhere. But they know very well how untrue this phrasing is, for the sanctions have been initiated by the Europeans and the Americans as a reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, while the responding Russia is accused by the German government of breach of treaty in trade relations.

In reality, the Europeans are shooting themselves in their own foot. What were they thinking the Russian reaction would be if the country was hit with one sanction package after another?

Anyone who trades with Russia does not at the same time make himself an accomplice in the Ukraine war. If this were true, then Germany – and not only Germany – would have been an accomplice in countless wars so many times. The Americans in particular have instigated so many wars of aggression that even German history cannot keep pace. But no Western European country, let alone Germany, has ever started an economic war because of this.

It is Germany that has to pay the highest price for the nonsensical sanctions, while the Americans rub their hands. Not only can they now sell their dirty fracking gas to Europe, but thanks to low energy prices and the discriminatory deregulation of workers’ rights in their own country, they will also become even more profitable as an industrial destination for companies from overseas. Whether the U.S. has a real interest in ending the war in Ukraine as soon as possible is at least open to doubt.

I hope for resistance from the German people not to let their own government rob them of their livelihood. It would not be the first time in our history that pressure from the street forces a government to resign or an entire system to collapse.

From my perspective, only non-violent protest can bring about a change to rationality, hopefully without playing into the hands of right-wing populists as in the USA. But the situation is not much better in many other countries: Millions of people in the developed world are susceptible to dangerous populist slogans because they have legitimate concerns and feel abandoned by politicians from moderate camps who are more intertwined with the interests of big business than actually contributing to a solution for the world’s pressing problems – such as man-made climate change – with the necessary resolve.

These are the consequences of a globalization that no one imagined 30 years ago.

Royal Slave Traders

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

A Queen Elizabeth and a King Charles – how the names resemble each other, only numbering is different:

The slave trade to overseas had been initiated under the reign of the English Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603). Under King Charles II (1630-1685), human trafficking really took off. The Royal African Company, founded in 1660 by the royal house and London merchants, was led by Charles’ brother, the Duke of York, who ascended the throne as James II in 1685. This company was wholly owned by the English Crown and was the largest slave trading company in the world; more slaves crossed the Atlantic through this organization than through any other company.

The Royal African Company had agents in Virginia, among other places, who received the incoming “cargo” and arranged for its onward sale – first in the British colonies, then in the founded USA. This country, declared the land of the free, also owes most of its wealth to slave labor, especially from the tobacco and cotton fields.

The wealth of today’s House of Windsor is based on the slave trade of their ancestors. But also, English cities – for example Bristol – profited decisively from the “triangular trade”: The ships transported English goods to West Africa, took slaves there in iron arm and leg shackles, shipped them to America, and from there brought sugar, tobacco, cotton back to England.

In the nearly 60 years from 1672 to 1731 alone, the Royal African Company brought 90,000 to 100,00 slaves per year to the Americas, according to conservative estimates by historians. About 15 percent of them did not survive the Atlantic crossing because of inhumane conditions.

A story of infinite human suffering that few want to be reminded of today, and certainly not when they mourn their queen – who, like her ancestors, had risen to her extraordinary position not through any special achievements but through noble birth and, of course, “the grace of God.” She was undoubtedly a person to like, but most Britons block out the historical facts from their consciousness, even if mourning ceremonies cost millions, while the common people become more and more impoverished. It has always been like this, and it will never change.

Under Socialism I went to Lutheran Church

Our Church originated from the 12th century

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

Pastor Thom’s church of “Peter and Paul” at Elbeu, my hometown. Originally built in the 12th century, the structure was destroyed five hundred years later during the 30 Years War by passing Swedes. In 1758 the church was rebuilt with donations from the most famous Prussian king, Frederick II. – an atheist. The graves directly in front of the church date back to the 17th and 18th centuries; former pastors who ministered in the church are buried here. – In this church I took part in the Christmas Eve nativity plays as a child – unforgettable experiences.

Since I came to America in 1998, I have occasionally had to listen to the following words: “The only reason you don’t believe in God is because you grew up under socialism and were brainwashed by that propaganda.” Those who said this could obviously not imagine that there had been a church at all in East German socialism under communist rule.

Here is the contrary evidence (see documents below). The documents bear my name and date from when I was seven and eight years old. I possess another four documents from the corresponding subsequent years. That’s how long I went to church in the German Democratic Republic (GDR). It was the only time I went to church regularly.

By the way, good old Pastor Gerhard Thoms, who filled these documents out, was the only true Christian I ever met in my whole life. He lived according to the guidelines. A God who allows people to own and shoot firearms? Pastor Thoms would have given such hypocrites a piece of his mind. The man possessed authenticity and did not interpret his Bible arbitrarily, as is usually the case elsewhere. He also did not make a profit through his Christian faith – imagine that.

Nothing was commercialized; there was no crazy band playing in the church, and there were no microphones and loudspeakers. It was a worship service as it should be, not a money-making business, in walls three feet thick, made of field stones.

Translation/left side: Our Lord Jesus Christ speaks: Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them; for such is the kingdom of God. Mk. 10 14
Right side: Uwe Bahr from the parish of Elbeu participated in the second year of Christian instruction 1968/69 for twelve hours, registered on 01/31/1969. He was excused for one hour, no missing hours. Behavior 1 (which is an A), cooperation 1-2 (A/B). Elbeu, 6/27/1969, Pastor Gerhard Thoms, Catechist
Translation: Evangelical Church of the Church Province of Saxony / Testimony of the Christian teaching

Mr. Paris would have liked it

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

It was reported that in Georgia, Union County’s sole commissioner Lamar Paris contracted the coronavirus. That’s unfortunate. As probably the sole German citizen in Union County to whom the thought of acquiring property here, of all places, has occurred, I take this opportunity to wish him a speedy recovery.

However, the senior civil servant may not care much about recovery wishes from such a side. Already in the past, he saw no need to respond to a request sent to him by e-mail from the alien German. This question was simply in reference to the use of tax dollars for a proposed shooting range that apparently has not been completed to date and wastes tax dollars from just about every resident.

Can Mr. Paris do pretty much whatever he wants? It is not for me to question his performance, and certainly he did not invent the system of his own one-man show. But in fact, in that regard, he is someone who is quick to have the boardroom cleared as soon as there is too much opposition to him. When I hear something like that, dark memories come back to me.

As an old political observer on both sides of the Atlantic, it is a complete mystery to me how somebody like Mr. Paris can function in a democratic sense of pluralism. As a contemporary witness, I saw a lot of the “socialist” dictatorship in the German Democratic Republic (GDR; back then elsewhere commonly called “East Germany”) during the Cold War – a state that was anything but democratic and consequently not a Republic. There, too, – in a dictatorship it must be remembered – a district commission existed, consisting of several members though, unlike today in Union County. They “voted” on everything possible, but usually these votes ended unanimously, for only one party controlled everything. Such an institution could certainly not be called democratic.

In the United States of America, still a Republic and allegedly the freest country in the world, it seems outlandish when a single person in public service can de facto say: The party, that’s me. Moreover, according to malicious tongues, Mr. Paris has claimed to be the only one who is up to the task. Somebody like a modern Jesus, in other words.

Self-praise stinks from heaven, says an old German proverb. For Paris pats himself on the back and thus feeds the suspicion of seeing himself as an irreplaceable autocrat, an impression that may or may not be justified.

How things resemble each other – one should not even think it possible. In the GDR, the dictatorship in which I was born and grew up, the comrades cheered each other on. Their party held all the power. They thought themselves infallible. I have the unpleasant and hopefully false feeling that Mr. Paris would have liked that.

Germany Reels under Sanctions

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

The claim that Germany and other European countries have made themselves too dependent on a political adversary like Russia with their energy policy is highly simplified and therefore simply nonsensical. The Americans in particular should be careful with such accusations, for they have never cared about ideological sensitivities when it came to enforcing their intentions in all parts of the world by any means as soon as tangible American profit interests were at stake. American wars of aggression grew out of this substance.

Of course, the initial West German rapprochement with Russia after Germany’s barbaric war against the Soviet Union also had its own interests in mind. Six decades ago, the Adenauer government gave away pipelines to the Soviet Union in exchange for cheap oil and natural gas later. That is how it had all begun. The emerging economic power of the Federal Republic of Germany, the German economic miracle after World War II, would very likely not have existed without the energy agreements with the former Soviets. The demand was huge. For 60 years, the Soviet Union and later Russia proved to be reliable trading partners, despite all international crises and ideological antagonisms.

The economic partnership between Soviets and Germans survived the Berlin crises of the late 1950s/early 1960s, including the construction of the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, the Eastern Bloc invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the dramatic events in Poland in 1981, and finally the fall of the Berlin Wall, including the demise of East Germany, and even the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union itself in 1991 – to name only the most important events.

During the entire period, there were no other energy sources equal in price and quantity to Russian natural gas that Germany and Europe could have turned to. True – the reproach that can be levelled at the Germans today is that they looked too long and too hesitantly for alternatives instead of relying on Russia alone. Instead of becoming more independent from only one source, the country took the path of convenience, counting on “change through trade” to heal up the terrible history between Germans and Russians. Peter Altmaier, CDU politician and last Minister of Economics in the Merkel government, recently stated: “Nobody was prepared at the time to pay billions in costs for more safeguards. Not us politicians, not the executives and not the taxpayers.”

This worked for a long time without any problems. Then came the war in Ukraine and the demand of alliance partners, especially the USA, to engage against Russia. Nonsensical sanctions, from which only Americans and Russians benefit, are now seriously reeling Germany economically: For it suffers more from the war with natural gas than others, having allowed itself to be dragged towards an economic hara-kiri. On the other hand, due to the increased prices caused by the sanctions, Putin can sell his gas and oil advantageously elsewhere, while the price for natural gas in the USA is currently nine times lower compared to Europe, making the country more attractive as an industrial location for companies from all over the world. In the U.S., where the simple man of the street counts for little, the deal makers, their lobbyists, and the politicians they pay know how to win a dirty poker game.

The war in Ukraine is a crime, without question – but the sanctions do not end it. For the time being, it looks like the sanctions war is hurting Germany more than Russia. Germany’s most important gas importer Uniper had to apply for state aid today because there is no longer enough natural gas flowing from Russia. How the situation will develop when scheduled maintenance on Nord Stream 1 begins on July 11 and is to be completed after ten days is still unclear. By the end of the year at the latest, millions of private households will be faced with final bills for energy consumed, which many will probably not be able to pay on their own. And of all things, the federal government in Berlin with Green participation is thinking about reactivating decommissioned, environmentally harmful coal-fired power plants.

Germany is bound to the alliance, but it cannot jeopardize its economic foundations with a nonsensical sanctions war with Russia. There is also a responsibility to its own people. This is why it should open Nord Stream 2 – that is my opinion. As a result, the Americans would not voluntarily withdraw militarily from Europe, because they are never going to give up their imperialistic world domination.

Amen – You are not Worth a Damn

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

Hearing a fourth grader talk about the Uvalde shooting she narrowly survived…

In the Christian “United States of America,” the Number One cause of death among children is death by gunshot. In the last two decades, more American children have died by being shot in their own country than members of the U.S. Army and police officers in the line of duty combined. After the school massacre in Uvalde, and not only there, fourth graders were so mutilated that they could only be tentatively identified by their clothing.

Any American who still talks about gun safety and the Second Amendment to insist on their “right” to bear arms is nothing but a retard. Many of the same retards sanctimoniously call for stricter gun laws and at the same time demand a law completely banning abortion to protect unborn life while born American children run for their lives literally every day in this country. These Americans are not right in their head and belong either permanently locked up in their reeking churches among themselves or in psychiatric treatment, if that helps at all. I doubt it.

A hearty “Amen” to those church people who support private gun ownership and identify themselves as “pro-life” on top of that. You are not worth a damn.

Pathological Madness

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

Just another mass shooting, only days after Uvalde, and they wonder again and pray. Constantly repeating phrases can be heard: “Tragic has befallen our community”, and “Our prayers are with the families.”

For those who impartially stick to facts, the main reason for gun violence in this Christian country is a morbid mania for guns rather than a tragedy. The U.S. is a violent country where residents are already afraid to make a doctor’s appointment, go shopping, or attend school. Almost as narrow-minded as the Christian pro-life gun nuts are those opponents of abortion who call for stricter gun laws out of sheer hypocrisy or helplessness. Hypocrisy – because they either cannot move from their traditional, right-wing Republican viewpoint or – at a higher level – fear for their re-election if they question the Second Amendment, which gave people no legal right to bear arms in 1791. The latter is a historical fact, but the unteachable do not concern themselves with the history of their own country.

400 million guns are privately owned in the U.S., more than the country’s population. How many more do they need? If more guns make for more security, then the Land of the Free and the Brave should be the safest country in the world, right? Compared to any other advanced country, the exact opposite is the case. This is also proven.

How sick must man be not to be able to recognize this? Praying does not help and has never helped, except in the imagination of people. For the dear God to whom they pray cannot hear them. It’s going to happen again.

Marx and Lenin

Does Mrs. Noem know what she is talking about?

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem actually said the following sentence yesterday during the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Houston: “Let me tell you the truth about the enemies of the Second Amendment. They are schooled in the ways of Marx and Lenin.”

Soviet propaganda banner with the heads of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin), Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx (from left). We were fed up with such images in GDR times, because they hung in every classroom. I can’t believe that I have to come back to these pictures now, in the supposedly freest country in the world, of all places. At least no harm happened to us in school during our childhood, not once in the whole country – and that in the midst of a socialist dictatorship.

What pathetic nonsense.

“In the ways of Marx and Lenin” I was trained against my will in 1987/88 in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) on the Kalashnikov, the most widely used sub-machine gun in the world at the time – and I did not like that at all. Even that “schooling” did not change my attitude towards guns.

In the GDR, where I lived for 29 years, military education was a compulsory subject in schools, as well as military camps – by the way, also for girls -, where the young people were trained on weapons. This also included hand grenades.

Notice something? Marxists, Leninists, Communists, Socialists, were sinister propagandists in line with Mrs. Noem and the NRA in their opinion about guns. Both sides for different, but in both cases self-serving purposes. Both are characterized by efforts to sell their propaganda with all sorts of history distorting arguments to disguise their true intentions. Politicians in the U.S. for reasons of votes and donations from the gun industry, no matter how many children have to die in their own country due to gun violence. Communists and socialists believed that guns were desperately needed to succeed in the “revolutionary struggle against the class enemy.” I am not sure anymore which is worse.

So, I don’t know where the lady from South Dakota gets her wisdom from. But she doesn’t care about historical facts – because she knows how well any nonsense goes down propagandistically with the majority of her countrymen as soon as terms like “Socialism” or “Marxism” come into play. My special friend Ron DeSantis from Florida uses far-fetched allusions to German history, including odd remarks about the Cold War, with such regularity that you can’t help but laugh at them. But with a majority of Americans, that kind of thing resonates.

The radical, naive and inflammatory speeches of the Trumps, DeSantis’, Cruz’ are easy to see through, especially for those who are informed about the historical background. I understand more and more why the political right, together with the churches in the fairway, wants to teach children in schools only what they think is right. For there is nothing more dangerous for the goals of propagandists than an enlightened humanity.

No Guns in Private Hands

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

If the previous reports are somewhat accurate, then it is difficult to understand for a layman like me how parents could be so quickly in front of the school building and still heard the gunshots which killed the children …, while the local police in Uvalde/Texas allegedly could not do anything to stop the murderer for an entire hour. Because they had to wait for the “Tactical Team?”

In terms of gun advocates, then, following the theory, how are armed teachers or school security personnel supposed to stop a heavily armed murderer – when not even trained, local police officers can accomplish this?

Even in previous mass shootings at American schools, armed protective personnel have never been shown to contain, let alone prevent, a crime. These are the facts.

So, what are the gun-obsessed people talking about who believe that only guns in the hands of do-gooders can prevent such carnage? What if these good guys are scared to use their guns as apparently happened in Uvalde? Gun rights advocates generally talk incoherent, visionary, brainless stuff to justify their own motivations for carrying a gun, invoking a manipulated Second Amendment from 1791. They are kaput.

The spread of such nonsense paves the way for the next massacre. What kind of people are they who can support such a thing – what is their spiritual and mental state? They scream their throats out about abortions, while their born children literally have to run for their lives every day.

Those who still talk about weapons protecting lives should be ashamed of themselves. Weapons kill, and for this reason, without exception, they do not belong in the hands of private individuals. No stricter gun laws can stop the madness in the USA.